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Vanessa Atalanta

Red Admirals in the valley

The Red Admiral butterfly (scientific name: Vanessa atalanta) is a commonly seen butterfly in gardens and along the Breamish Valley usually from Spring and right through the summer months. However, these timings are extremely variable and, perhaps like me, you’ve seen these distinctively coloured insects nectaring in your garden, along the valley or in My Autumn Dene into early Autumn?

They commonly feed on nettles but will often be seen in gardens feeding on buddleia (sometimes spelled ‘buddleja’), ivy and other flowers. In fact, just a little over a week ago, I saw several of these uniquely-patterned, large (wing span around 7cm) butterflies feeding on a variety of flowers in my garden in Powburn:

Red Admiral feeding on campanula (6 Oct 2020)
Vanessa atalanta nectaring on aster flowers

I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?

Zhuangzi

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